Archive for February, 2016


For 50 years, we’ve watched the best teams in the NFL fight the final battle of the season. It’s the final test, the ultimate game to decide who will be remembered and who will be in second place. It is, no doubt, a monumental experience for players, but it is pivotal for their coaches. They are leading the pack. They will suffer the most criticism. They will be left to pick up the pieces and start over.With such high stakes, the Super Bowl becomes a stage for leadership to either thrive or crumble. In looking back over these 50 years of match ups, we are highlighting three winning coaches who epitomize the steps needed to experience ultimate success.



Football is not a game for the overly-sensitive or softhearted. It’s a difficult game that demands acute focus. But, Vince Lombardi, two-time Super Bowl winning coach for the Green Bay Packers, knew the value of bringing “feeling” on the field. He understood that unless the team had a strong mutual care for one another, their game would lack necessary connection. The team would be out of sync.

Jim Taylor, one of 10 Packers who played for Lombardi, remembers one of the coach’s tactics that required mutual care and led to their success in the first-ever Super Bowl.We had established the power sweep,” he recalls. The strategy required a unified force and an unyielding trust in the man on the line by your side. It was based on a foundation of awareness for the other guys on the team. And it led to two Super Bowl victories. “With our blockers we were a ball-possession offense that could move the chains. It’s still only blocking and tackling.

Lombardi said it this way,

There are a lot of coaches with good ball clubs who know the fundamentals and have plenty of discipline but still don’t win the game. [They’re missing] the third ingredient: if you’re going to play together as a team you’ve got to care for one another. You’ve got to love each other. Each player has to be thinking about the next guy and saying to himself: ‘I have to do my job well in order that he can do his…’ The difference between mediocrity and greatness is the feeling [the teammates] have for each other.”

Knowing who’s on your team and having a “soft spot” for them, makes the difference to take home the win. 


Coach Bill Parcells, like Vince Lombardi, knew that individual players, no matter how outstanding or capable they were, couldn’t carry the ball alone. Team effort was the only way to the win.

Parcells has a sign hanging in his office that states his philosophy plainly, “Individuals play the game but teams win championships.”

In Super Bowl XXV, Parcells’ winning year with the New York Giants, the final score was 20-19 over Buffalo. We can’t contribute that one point to a single failure or success by either team, but the team that worked in sync: setting a record for the amount of time of ball-control offense (40 minutes and 33 seconds) is a good indication that the team was the victor— not any one, individual player.

Giants quarterback Jeff Hostetler converted three third-down plays—an 11-yard pass to running back David Meggett, a 14-yard toss to wide receiver Mark Ingram, and a 9-yard pass to Howard Cross to give New York a 17-12 lead in the third quarter. Hostetler was never a one man show; it took the team.

Parcell’s coaching proves that what we can do alone pales in comparison to the potential we have when we work together.



Coach Dick Vermeil, who guided the St. Louis Rams to victory in Super Bowl XXIV, prepared for success long before he ever headed to the big game. He’d been learning about his players and becoming a person they could count on since their first practice season.

When asked about his number one priority in leading his team, Vermeil said without hesitation,

Anyone who has coached for long knows that you’ve got to establish trust with your players before you can ever lead your players.  Trust is the most essential thing to establish as a coach; trust precedes influence for every leader of a team.

Coaches like Vermeil foresee the thoughts and emotions that will be generated by an upcoming challenge. Then, they have the authority with the players to redirect their mindset away from fears and worries by reminding everyone of their strengths and focusing their attention on the task at hand.

Successful coaches have a history of accountability and loyalty to their team. And, success in the Super Bowl begins with a coach who understands the value of team unity and deep-rooted trust long before dreaming of being #1.

There is an absolute certainty that they can be trusted win or lose, and that’s how they win.